When it comes to SEO, everyone is looking for that magic formula, the perfect keyword density and the combination of factors that will send their website rocketing to the top of the search engine rankings.

One of the important factors in the hunt for great SEO is keyword density percentage. Keyword density percentage is described by Wikipedia as ‘the percentage of times a keyword or phrase appears on a web page compared to the total number of words on a page’. So, for example, if your keyword appears once in 100 words of text, your keyword density is 1%. If your keyword appears fifteen times in 500 words of text, your keyword density is 3%. The formula to calculate the density is as follows:

Keyword density = (how many times a keyword is repeated x the total number of words in the text) x 100

So what is the ideal keyword density percentage? Well, the short answer is that there isn’t an ideal percentage. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to hit on the perfect keyword density – and nor should the perfect keyword density be something that you’re actively aiming for.

Instead, you should focus on creating original, authentic copy for each page, with keywords included where they feel natural. If you cram your copy with keywords just to hit an arbitrary keyword density percentage, you could end up triggered a penalty filter for spam, and your website will end up a lot worse off than it was when you started your SEO efforts.

So we’ve established that keyword density percentages aren’t too important. Then what exactly should you be doing with your keywords for good SEO? Here’s a little insight.

  • The keyword you’re hoping to rank for should obviously appear on the page somewhere – that’s the only way the search engines will know that you’re trying to rank for that keyword!
  • Your main keywords should also be placed in the title of that page. Longer-tail keywords can be included in the body text of your page, but if there’s a shorter keyword that you’re hoping to rank for, it should always appear in your page title.
  • It helps to include the keyword in the URL of your page. Obviously this isn’t always possible, but with things like blog posts or articles on your site, you should be able to get your keywords into the URL somewhere.
  • Using keywords in headers also helps. It flags up to the search engines that there’s a whole section of this page devoted to that keyword, which will act as a ranking signal.

Keyword density – a final tip

SEO used to be a numbers game. It was all about percentages and ratios, rather than creating content that audiences wanted to read. The rise of Google’s semantic search and its penalties for keyword spamming or poor-quality content means that more focus should be placed on creating authentic and readable content that is relevant to your audience. Think less about density, and more about catering to your audience’s needs – that’s the best SEO lesson we can ever provide!